Sunday, June 1, 2008

In My Opinion: The best case for carrying lights



I am often asked in my workshops and online classes; "what are the best cases for carrying all these lights". As you may know there are a lot of options out there and I have looked at many of them. There are soft cases and there are hard cases and of course, you cant test them all on a flight to an assignment.

I selected the hard Pelican 1650 case with padded dividers (#1654) and they have held up the bumping and bruising that the airlines deliver for close to 12 years. Within each case I can carry 5 White Lightning strobes, the cords, reflector, grids, small three-way plugs, extra modeling lights and flash tubes. (Once again, Amazon has a killer price as usual.)

What about weight? I have heard this question before and the big concern is the airlines. (You should also be concerned about your back and lifting these.) When I started flying on assignment to shoot annual reports and other assignments, you could check 3 bags at 70 lbs. each. Then it was two and then it was 50 pounds and then it was one bag at 50 lbs. and now: you have to pay for each bag.

Even with my small White Lightning units, I am close to 50 lbs most of the time and occasionally I am over the weight limit. In fact I think no matter what cases are used; soft or hard, and normal sized strobes are packed in them, they will be over 50 lbs or awful close.

I used to dread going to the airport with the 5-6 large cases I usually flew with because of the weight issues and extra bag charges, but soon realized that the trends were not going in our favor so I quit worrying about it and pay the fees.

You will have to tell your clients that the fees are there and that I will add them to my invoice and they will have to pay them. The cost of doing business today is getting higher and higher and doesn't appear to be slowing down. Your clients have to understand!

By the way, for my stands, umbrellas and light boxes, I pack them into SKB Golf Cases. These are hard sided and fly well on the airlines. Be sure though, that you duct tape each latch because if they pop open by mistake, they get ripped off the side of the case. TSA can still remove the tape to inspect them.

Also, remove your modeling lamp from the strobe unit and warp in bubble wrap before flying. The air travel seems to rattle the filaments into breaking.

Safe travels!

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